Every year, the boxing community gets several painful reminders why we’re one of the most corrupt sports in existence. Boxing is one of the few sports where saying the “fix is in” is not something referencing a bygone era. While it wasn’t as bad as some years, 2012 had its share of blatant, shameful robberies. Here are the worst of the bunch.
5. JAMES KIRKLAND DQ10 CARLOS MOLINA
This was a case where the blame fell on the referee instead of the judges. Molina was supposed to be a decent challenge before Kirkland got a ppv showdown with Canelo Alvarez in September. Instead, Molina completely frustrated Kirkland with clinches and strategic punching to take a lead on two scorecards headed into the 10th round. Kirkland finally found his range and stunned Molina with two right hooks before landing a glancing left to score a knockdown with the clock winding down. The bell sounded and Molina’s corner jumped in the ring to begin setting up their corner, not realizing that referee Jon Schorle was still administering his eight-count. After a quick review with ringside officials, Schorle made the decision to award the match to Kirkland by disqualification.
Yes, Molina’s trainer did technically break a rule by entering the ring before the round officially ended. However, the referee always can use his discretion on deciding whether any infraction is worth a disqualification. The oversight by Molina’s trainer had no impact on the fight and this is a case of Schorle using either extremely poor judgment or deliberately trying to salvage a Kirkland win (and in essence an opponent for Canelo). Regardless of where you stand, Schorle robbed both fighters — Molina got jobbed of an opportunity to hang on and gut out a victory while Kirkland’s chance at a dramatic comeback was stifled. That’s Texas for you.
4. TOMASZ ADAMEK SD12 STEVE CUNNINGHAM
Apparently two of the judges (Tom Miller and Dave Greer) for this fight in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are very partial to fighters who walk forward into stiff jabs, right hands and miss flurries. That’s what happened to Tomasz Adamek in the majority of the rounds last week when he faced old rival Steve Cunningham. For most observers, Cunningham took this fight 8-4 in rounds AT WORST (that was my scorecard). Instead, Adamek walked away with an inexplicable victory via scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115. This fight took place a few days before Christmas, but that didn’t stop Adamek from getting his gift early. And to stick the knife even deeper, the fight was first announced as a split decision draw before being changed to a victory for Adamek.
3. TIMOTHY BRADLEY SD12 MANNY PACQUIAO
Karma for the Pacquiao robbery over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2011? Devious, Sith-lord like maneuverings from Bob Arum to continue keeping Pacquiao away from Mayweather? Just bad scoring? Whatever take you have on this decision, it signaled that all bets are truly off when arguably the most popular fighter in the world can get screwed on the scorecards. There were a lot of sad and angry Filipinos on this night.
2. TAVARIS CLOUD SD 12 GABRIEL CAMPILLO
Surprise, surprise — more boxing fuckery from that state of Texas! Tavaris Cloud looked headed to a dominate KO victory when he dropped Campillo twice in the opening round. That was until the second stanza when Campillo damn near turned into Sugar Ray Leonard by ripping off blistering 3-4 punch combinations to hold off Cloud. Campillo’s southpaw left kept Cloud befuddled and the champion could only manage sporadic success over the remaining rounds. Campillo was in complete control at the final bell, but two of the judges (David Robertson and Joel Elizondo) had a trademark Texas rally on the scoecards for the house fighter to give Cloud a victory with scores of 116-110 (SMH!), 114-112 (hmph) and 111-115. Note Cloud’s mother fainted at the verdict — she probably was expecting her camp to get struck down by lightning at that moment. Campillo filed a protest with the IBF immediately afterward to no avail. Campillo will be facing Sergey Kovalev on January 19 while Cloud gets an HBO-televised bout with Bernard Hopkins on March 9. Go figure.
1. BRANDON RIOS SD 12 RICHARD ABRIL
Brandon Rios engaged in one of the best fights this year when he knocked out Mike Alvarado. But the fight before he was made to look like a club fighter by Richard Abril, who completely nullified the power and pressure of the rising star from Oxnard, California. Abril used his wiry frame and reach to repeatedly smack Rios with long jabs and right hands. Rios’s normally strong inside game was shut down through clinches and Abril using his shoulder to pick off shots. It literally looked at times like someone play-fighting with their younger brother. But with Rios being groomed by Top Rank to take over for Manny Pacquiao, the undefeated fighter wasn’t going to lose no matter how badly he got exposed. Judge Adelaide Byrd had the only correct scorecard, giving Abril the victory 117-111. The other two, Jerry Roth and Glenn Trowbridge, made a mockery of their profession with respective scores of 116-112 and 115-113. The only reason the outrage wasn’t worse is because this robbery took place in front of a limited pay-per-view audience.